Friday, October 19, 2012

Navratri Celebrations in Andhra Pradesh

The nine-day festival of Navratri, or Navarathri, in Hindu religion dedicated to the nine manifestations of Goddess Durga. `Navarathri" is a major Hindu festival, which is celebrated during `Dussehra` or `Navarathri` throughout India, especially in Southern India.

Andhra Pradesh, women arrange 'Bommai Kolu', a special placing of dolls decorated with flowers and ornaments on specially prepared steps. Nine young 'kanyas' are offered new clothes and sweets. The married women share flowers, kumkum and snacks among themselves.
Apart from the traditional Navrathri; Bommai Kolu display, nowadays there is an emphasis on Golu themes with different ideas.

During this festival, a mini-exhibition of toys and dolls are set up in many Hindu homes. The origin of this unique festival is not known clearly but it is said that it existed at least for the past five hundred years i.e. from the days of the Vijayanagar kings of Hampi in Karnataka. The reference of the festival `Navarathri Kolu` is found in the inscriptions of these kings. The Tanjavur Maharaja Sarfoji`s Saraswathi Mahal Library old Marathi record mentions that dolls representing eighteen different castes were supplied at that time. This proves its antiquity. Even the royal families of the Tanjavur and Pudukkottai kingdoms of Tamil Nadu used to celebrate the `Navaratri Kolu` festival in a very grand manner.

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